Collie Flower Farm

  (Woodstock, Illinois)
"Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower." John Harrigan

a new year and a new you

It's a new year and perhaps a new you!

  We all start each year with resolutions to improve ourselves. We hope that this is the year we break bad habits and start good ones, to lose weight, make more time for enjoying our families and friends. After awhile we fall back into old ways and feel guilty.

I hope this year will be different for you and for me. Lets focus on the positive, cheer for each baby step. Lets realize that change is hard and takes time, if we fall, lets get back up and keep going.

Perhaps this year you are making healthy choices in your diet, joining a CSA, or just paying more attention to the foods you buy. Good for you! Make this the year you find out more about locally grown food, try a vegetable you've never eaten, or try to cook healthier food and cut down on  fast food. Get the family involved, look for recipes to try together, make plans to visit local farms and farmers markets. Remember, learning new things is fun and is great exercise for the brain

This year I hope to try more recipes for the amazing vegetables I receive from Beaver Creek Gardens. I want to do more with Kale,everyone seems to be talking about this healthy veg. I am also looking forward to making gallons of fresh tomato soup to enjoy next winter, ( store bought is terrible).

I am also so excited about all the new flower seeds,plugs,and bulbs this season at Collie Flower farm. I will attend a flower growers conference in North Carolina in March where I will be able to tour other flower farms and learn from fellow flower fanatics. I pledge to learn and grow this year and to enjoy each baby step along the way!




Singing in the rain

 It has been a crazy spring around the country. Here in N. Illinois, we are experiencing a very  warm spring. I actually had the air conditioner on for a few days while temperatures stayed in the 80's. This is definitely not a typical Chicago spring. I remember having snow on Easter, and rarely did we have blooming flowers for the occasion. I am enjoying all the early color but wonder how the rest of the season will shape up . I am glad we have had some good rains to make up for the lack of snow melt.  I am also seeing more bugs and am sure that they will be an issue this year.

  We have started a few projects early this year too. We are installing a beautiful entry gate and repairing the fence.And we plan on creating a "walk -in cooler", in the concrete garage. I learned about using a "Cool-Bot" , along with a window air conditioner , at the UW Madison Cut Flower Growers School on Feb. 18 &19 this year. The class was amazing and so much fun. The instructors,Jeanie McKewan and Joe Schmitt were very knowledgeable and skilled at passing that knowledge to all of us. I will be bending 100 hoops for flower supports and tunnel fabric using the plans provided by Joe. As a carpenter, I love to make things! That is part of my love for gardening. I love the design, the growing, and the harvest of all that effort. No one likes to weed, but it does last longer than keeping the kitchen clean! When I can make useful things, whimsical things, things to invite others to enjoy the garden, I feel truly happy, like singing in the rain!

  Happy Spring, Liz




New starts

This  past week, Cheri, ( Beaver Creek Gardens), and I started the first batch of vegetable and flower seeds. It's great to  have all the space now that the greenhouse expansion is complete. Cheri has also incubated 2 dozen eggs which will hatch in a couple of weeks.

It is the season for new starts and new friends. Here at Collie Flower Farm, we have a new friend too. I have always been a " dog" person. Collies, in case you didn't guess, but now I have my first kitten. Fergus is a brown tabby maine coon cat. He is 13 weeks old and a real hoot. Cats are very different than dogs and we are all trying to teach Fergus the " way of the collie". For now he is enjoying chasing Ross' tail and doing a little teething on his legs. Ross takes it all with quiet patience while sydney just shows a little lip when she has had enough .I'm glad to have this time with Fergus enjoying his antics. Soon our " downtime" will be over and a new season will be in full swing.

Soon all those seeds we started will be up and growing. I just love all the possibilities of the new season. i'm trying several new flower varieties and look forward to seeing how they come out. We will also attend a " Flower growers school" in madison, wisc. in a few weeks. Lots to learn!







Never a dull moment at " Collie flower Farm"

Living in the country,I enjoy all the wildlife that share our 4 acres. Our collies, Ross and Sydney enjoy it too! Of course the way we see wildlife is very different. I like to quietly observe their behavior,while the dogs like to observe a bit closer usually at full speed across the meadow. I have respect for the land and all the creatures we share it with so I don't allow the dogs to run unsupervised. I don't want them to be injured or cause injuries to other animals.

 Among our animal friends are a pair of foxes. I have seen and heard them many times and find them to be amazing and beautiful.Their calls are very distinctive . This morning I heard the dogs barking outside and stepped out to call them in when I noticed a fox on the opposite side of our fence. As I called to the dogs I noticed another fox walking across our frozen pond as if he didn't have a care in the world. Unfortunately the dogs noticed too and the chase was on. I ran out across the snow in my stocking feet hoping to prevent an encounter.Luckily the fox is pretty fast and escaped unharmed. That is when I really felt foolish and very cold! I guess I need to keep my boots closer to the door. I sometimes wonder if the foxes are playing a game with the dogs or perhaps they enjoy the thrill of the chase too. We all got our exercise today!




Snow happy

Snow happy! 

Kids aren't the only ones who love snow. We farmers also appreciate it. While everyone in northern Illinois has been enjoying our mild weather thru December and early January, I have been anxiously watching some of the 800 bulbs I planted this fall eagerly poking their heads up thinking it must be spring because of the very mild temps and a lot of rain. Although I'm glad to save money on plowing, I was very worried that all my work would be for nothing. I was so glad to see the cold and snow finally show up over the last 2 weeks. Thankfully, only green shoots had started so the bulbs will recover. If anyone has had the same worries, as long as the flower buds did not appear, your bulbs will survive. The cold has put them back to sleep and the snow will provide a blanket to keep them comfy until spring really rolls around.

This is my first year as a flower CSA and I'm so excited to see all that color. I will also participate in a Flower Growers class at the University of Wisconsin in Madison next month. I hope to learn more about  sharing my passion for flowers with all my CSA subscribers! 

Meanwhile the collies, Ross and Sydney, will curl up by my feet while I plan my flower beds and enjoy some hot chocolate and snuggle time.


RSS feed for Collie Flower Farm blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader